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Canoe Executive Chef Ron McKinlay cooks on an induction stove on June 13, 2023.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Like every other appliance in your home, stoves are going greener as induction stoves slowly but surely move from niche to mainstream in Canadian kitchens – and for good reason.

Their most obvious benefit is, unlike gas stoves, they don’t burn fossil fuels. And while a conventional stove uses thermal conduction, where high heat from the source moves through the pan to cook your food, an induction stove uses electrical induction, where electricity generates a magnetic field beneath the glass, which a compatible pan can then turn into heat.

Energy Star reports induction stoves are up to 10 per cent more efficient than electric stoves and about three times more efficient than gas. If all cooking tops sold in the U.S. in 2021 used induction, America’s energy cost savings would exceed US$125-million and 1,000 GWh, about the amount of electric power consumed annually by 93,000 U.S. households. Gas stoves in the U.S. emit almost 7 million tons of carbon dioxide – the same amount as almost two million gas-powered cars.

North of the border, National Resources Canada reports gas ranges in Canadian homes emitted about 370,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018 – more than what about 80,000 cars emit in a year. Then there are the methane gas emissions found to unintentionally leak out of gas ranges, as well as released formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide, which some studies have linked to childhood asthma and poor respiratory health.

Much like the shift to electric cars, as consumers embrace induction stoves, manufacturing companies meet the demand. Increasingly affordable, induction models on offer have snowballed from single burners to cooktops to full ranges in multiple sizes, which presents a new and good problem: Now that you’ve narrowed it down to induction, how do you possibly choose which one?

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How does a stovetop differ from an all-in-one range?

First, a quick explainer: “A cooktop sits on or in your countertop. An oven is the thing you bake in underneath. And a range is an all-in-one,” says Ali Shojaei. senior account manager at Caplan’s Appliances in Toronto. “Range” is just a fancier word for stove, and it’s often used interchangeably.

Many people hop aboard the induction train during a kitchen renovation, since choosing a separate cooktop and oven rather than an all-in-one range – especially a gas one, which likely cannot be moved because of the gas line and ventilation – expands design opportunities. “An induction cooktop can go anywhere in your kitchen, even on an island, which lots of people love right now,” says Shojaei. Ovens, meanwhile, are often built into walls in the open, sleek, minimalistic kitchens currently on trend.

What size of stovetop do you really need?

With some 70 induction ranges and 100 induction cooktop models currently on the market, a great way to start narrowing down your options is looking at size. “Think about the size of your space, your home and your family to decide how many burners you’ll need,” suggests Shojaei. Unless you’re a gourmet chef or you run a boarding house, a standard size will probably do.

Like regular gas or electric ranges, this means a width of 30 or 36 inches – the latter being a relatively new addition to models on offer. Cooktops offer more size options, which can range from as small as 15 inches to as large as 48.

How much should you spend?

As usual, a wide variety of models exists between bare-bones and top-of-the-line, but in general, induction stoves start at a higher price point than either gas or electric. Canadian Appliance Source reports that the price range of (residential, non-commercial) gas stoves range from about $450-$3,200, electric stoves from $550-$3,600, and induction from $1,500-$3,000.

That top-of-the-line professional induction range, meanwhile, can easily hit $15,000 while Canadian Appliance Source’s most expensive cooktop is a $9,000 Thermador – it’s got six burners, WiFi connectivity, “Sapphire Glow” LED lights and a Japanese teppanyaki grill function for showing off for your interactive cooking skills to your guests.

From WiFi connectivity to built-in air fryers: What features do you need in an induction range?

Induction stoves have an endless variety of features if you’re willing to pay for them. To name a few: smartphone compatibility, accompanying apps (with recipes), temperature probes, illuminated knobs, soft-closing doors, gimmicky trademarks like “hydro baking,” “CombiZone” and “telescopic gliding,” built-in griddles, air fryers, convection and lots more.

“I’d suggest choosing, say, three features that matter to you and that you’ll actually use,” says Shojaei. Prioritize cleanability, safety and efficiency. Most stove shoppers want a self-cleaning option and well-placed knobs and buttons if they’ve got kids or pets. And ask about how fast it can boil a pot of water – an efficient induction stove should do it in at least half the time as what you’re used to on a traditional stove.

What does the installation process look like?

If you’re switching from gas to electric, you’ll of course need to call an electrician. “A gas stove uses only 15 amps – just enough to go click-click-click and light the burner,” explains Steve Glowa at Wicks Electric in Vancouver. An induction stove requires a dedicated 220-volt outlet protected by 40-50 amp breakers.

If you’re currently using an electric stove, even though most induction models are already compatible with the standard power supply, you should still call an electrician and here’s why: “Even though it might be as simple as plugging it in, it might not be and you could trip your breaker,” says Glowa. If your breaker’s capacity isn’t big enough, you’ll need to install a new one that can handle more power.

Another good reason to call a licensed electrician? You nullify your manufacturer’s warranty if you don’t. Should your DIY appliance installation do any damage or start a fire, any home insurance claims may be denied. “You really don’t want to take that risk,” says Glowa – not to mention the peace of mind of knowing your new induction stove is as safe as it is swanky.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referenced a rebate program that has ended. This version has been updated.

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